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New moon offers best chance to see shooting stars this summer

In this photo released by SkyandTelescope.com, a Perseid meteor flashes across the constellation Andromeda on Aug. 12, 1997.
Sky & Telescope
In this photo released by SkyandTelescope.com, a Perseid meteor flashes across the constellation Andromeda on Aug. 12, 1997.

Two different meteor showers will mingle in the skies tonight and through the weekend. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports on why it’s the best chance to see shooting stars this summer.

The Perseid meteor shower began in early July and will peak on August 12. But a bright full moon will wash out the show. Tonight’s new moon offers a better chance to spot shooting stars. Viewing will also be good through the weekend when the thin crescent moon sets early.

This weekend is also the peak of a different meteor shower, the Delta Aquariids. This shower radiates shooting stars from the southern sky at a rate of about twenty an hour, with some leaving long, slow-burning trails.

Meanwhile, Perseid meteors will radiate from the north, at a rate of fifty to one hundred per hour. The best time to watch is between midnight and dawn, away from artificial lights.

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Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.